Our new Resource this month is the website of the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR) (https://www.nwabr.org/teacher-center/introductory-bioinformatics-genetic-testing#overview). The entire site is free, easily accessible, and offers General, Student, and Research resources. But our focus this month will be the Teacher Center with its information for teachers of biomedical science, including topics in ethics and consumer awareness – especially their resources on Introductory Bioinformatics: Genetic Testing.
A prominent tool bar heads the home page (https://www.nwabr.org), offering several choices. Select Teacher Center to display the pull-down menu, and choose: Introductory Bioinformatics: Genetic Testing. Clicking here accesses programs and curricula for secondary school teachers and students explaining how bioinformatics is used in genetic testing. Notice the subheadings on the sidebar at screen left: Overview, Lessons, Resources, and Links. “Lessons” takes you to eight downloadable Lesson Plans accompanied by PowerPoint slideshows, some introducing people and careers in bioinformatics. The overall Lesson Plans are well-developed, and have clearly stated objectives, lists of materials, a glossary, procedures, handouts, classroom skits, online exercises, and discussion questions. Lesson Plan 7 even guides students through making a resumé and applying for a summer internship in this field! Back at the sidebar, you can also click on “Resources” to find supporting materials for the introductory lessons; not every lesson is represented, but the resources range from Optional Lesson Extensions to information about family BRCA1 sequences, green fluorescent protein, and structures of wild-type and sickle cell hemoglobin! Or you could click on “Links” for a list of helpful annotated resources. The first of these, The Personal Genome Project, acquaints students with a study that will contribute to health and medical knowledge; other links focus on Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Structure, Stem Cells, Neurobiology, or Drugs and the Brain.
NWABR’s goal of promoting public trust in biomedical research is evident in the site’s unique approach, which combines scientific and ethics information with guidance in personal growth and career preparation. The Lesson Plans are outstanding – among the most thorough that we’ve seen online. Funded by a 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Introductory Bioinformatics reflects NWABR’s mission by encouraging biomedical learning and understanding, and stimulating interest in this new field. For more about bioinformatics, take a quick peek at Advanced Bioinformatics, soon to be our featured Resource of the Month.
About the Creators:
The Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR), based in Seattle, Washington, was founded nearly 30 years ago to promote public trust in biomedical research and its ethical conduct, and to enhance society’s support and understanding of research and participation in it. NWABR also works to ensure high ethical conduct within the research community, mounting conferences on the research use of animals and humans and on safe research facilities. Among their sponsors are: Dendreon, ZymoGenetics, Lucent Medical Systems, Quorum Review IRB, and The Jackson Laboratory.